YouTube is being sued by a company whose website crashed after being swamped by tens of millions of visitors seeking the phenomenally popular online video-sharing service.

YouTube is being sued by a company whose website crashed after being swamped by tens of millions of visitors seeking the phenomenally popular online video-sharing service. 2

Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corp, a small Ohio-based manufacturer that employs just 17 people, claims its website became a victim of YouTube’s success after being engulfed by 68 million hits in August. It says the cost of maintaining its own website – utube.com – exploded from $19 a month to more than $3,000 a month after users mistook it for youtube.com.

Ralph Girkins, Universal Tube’s president told Times Online: “We tried to talk to YouTube, but there wasn’t very much conversation at all. I’m leaving it to the lawyers now.”

His company this week filed a lawsuit in the US District Court, demanding that YouTube either abandon the youtube.com domain name, or stump up the cost of finding an alternative to utube.com, which it claims predates the video-sharing site by a decade.

The issue highlights the bandwidth costs facing YouTube, which Google has agreed to buy for $1.65 billion in shares. YouTube is yet to post a profit but analysts estimate that the site, which downloads more than 100 million videos a day, has had to pay at least $1 million (£524,000) a month to make its content accessible.

When millions of visitors mistakenly opted to go to utube.com, a portion of those costs were transferred to Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment, whose site suddenly became one of the most popular manufacturing destinations on the web.

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